Fwd: Recent Experience with people misrepresenting themselves asofficial Thunderbird

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 15:09:47 UTC 2015

> Computer support is like car repair, everyone needs it but sometimes things don't go 
> well, and customers go away convinced that the repair people are crooks (and some 
> probably are). I would not be surprised that Mozilla has had difficult experiences 
> with this in the past. I am sure that it is enormously challenging to maintain a 
> "feel good" brand name and offer support at the same time. Many users have 
> unrealistic expectations about how much support costs.
> But so many users are desperate. Any time I do a blog posting on the Thunderbird 
> blog, lots of comments come in that are really support requests. There is a clear 
> need, and I don't think that we should let the unfortunate fact that a minority of 
> users will badmouth support deter us from pursuing what is in the best interest of a 
> certain segment of our user population. A significant portion of our users are 
> expecting a professional messaging application, and are willing to pay the costs of 
> that.
Agreed, people are often super thankful for free support (and often donate money after 
the fact) - there is a big value in this, both on an individual level and for 
Thunderbird as a whole (and as an enterprise application)

I think the trick is top cover the legal bases and take any criticism in its stride. 
And obviously have well educated support personnel, which is the hardest one. But to 
start with I think building up the infrastructure of paid support from zero is a 
daunting process - within the Mozilla-multiverse, there is no such thing (paid 
support) for Firefox? I think it is still necessary in the long run though.

> I don't have any bandwidth at the moment to pursue this unfortunately.
> :rkent
> On 6/17/2015 6:28 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:
>> On 17/06/15 14:10, Philipp Kewisch wrote:
>>> We could also contract the pilot out to an external company, with them
>>> being the "Official Support Partner" and see how it goes. Of course
>>> there are also some legal things to take care of, but this would save us
>>> the need to bootstrap the whole support team.
>> This precise thing was attempted by the Mozilla Foundation back in the
>> early days. It lasted a couple of years, I think. Before trying it, you
>> should find someone who was around at that time and involved in the
>> program, and ask them how it went.
>> Gerv
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